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ROI: Region One Insights December 10th, 2022
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A Living Library Project

Posted by on August 3rd, 2022 Posted in: Uncategorized

The following post was written by Catherine Lockmiller, Health Science Librarian at Northern Arizona University. 

No textbook teaching theories and methods can capture the essence, the richness, the truth of lived experience.  No matter how much research confirms that health disparities do exist, it never uncovers the stories, the toll on individual bodies.

Phoenix Biomedical Library Living Library Project was created as a tool for teaching future medical practitioners.

Phoenix Biomedical Living Library Logo

Catherine Lockmiller describes the project:

The PBC Living Library is similar to the broader Human Library format. However, this program differs in that we center individuals who have had experiences of health and healthcare disparities that relate to an aspect of their identity. We strive to establish a safe space where health science students can enter into discourse with patient storytellers and in doing so, learn how power is distributed and potentially redistributed in the context of a patient/provider interview. By conducting the PBC Living Library in this manner, we promote patient agency in participatory care while preparing future healthcare providers to consider the impacts of social determinants of health and adverse power structures within the medical industrial complex.

Here are two relevant resources that people can check out, which get at the goals and structure of the PBC Living Library.


  • On Shame with Luna Dolezal podcast episode from Thales’ Well https://thaleswell.podbean.com/e/on-shame-with-luna-dolezal/. Luna Dolezal’s conceptualization of body shame and its relations to medical practice have had a key role in helping us develop the PBC Living Library’s theoretical underpinnings.


  • Epistemic injustices in clinical communication: the example of narrative elicitation in person‐centered care (Sociology of Health & Illness, 2020):

Naldemirci Ö, Britten N, Lloyd H, Wolf A. Epistemic injustices in clinical communication: the example of narrative elicitation in person-centred care. Sociol Health Illn. 2021 Jan;43(1):186-200. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.13209. Epub 2020 Oct 28. PMID: 33112448; PMCID: PMC7894328.


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7894328/. “Epistemic injustice” is a term which describes how individuals’ self-knowledge or experiential knowledge is undervalued, disbelieved, and/or ignored. It is particularly relevant to medical and healthcare situations wherein a healthcare provider’s capacity to believe and affirm a patient’s experiences plays impacts the future relationship that patient will have with facets of the medical industrial complex writ large.


You can learn more about this at the NNLM Public Health Webinar Series presentation, PBC Living Library Project on August 23, 2022, 2pm ET.  You can register here.

Image of the author ABOUT fsteele
Faith Steele, MLS, is the Outreach and Education Librarian for Region 1 for the Network of the National Library of Medicine at the University of Maryland Baltimore. She connects libraries to community health partners and provides training and funding to help communities access quality health information

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